WWI&II, Grand Prix and Tennis Images Led Swann’s Top August Posters Auction of All Time

Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau advertisement for JOB rolling papers was the top lot in our August 6 auction

Coming on the heels of tremendous media coverage (see: The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Luxury Travel Magazine, Robb Report and Slate), Swann’s August 6 auction of Vintage Posters grossed more than any previous August posters sale, bringing in more than $790,000.

H.R. Hopps’s chilling propaganda poster was the highest priced WWI image in the sale


Among the top lots were highlights from a collection of tennis posters, which was larger and more important than any tennis poster collection to appear at auction before, World War I & II images, scarce Buffalo Bill posters, Geo Ham’s Grand Prix advertisements and summer and beach resort promos by celebrated artists.

WWII was also represented, with the now well-known British poster, Keep Calm and Carry On


A selection of Art Nouveau beauties by the master of that medium, Alphonse Mucha, also helped the sale’s bottom line, with his JOB, 1896–the auction’s top lot–achieving $21,250. Also by Mucha were an alternate JOB poster at $9,375 and The Seasons, a group of four decorative panels at $11,250.

Tops among the tennis posters was Roger Broders’s design for Monte-Carlo

Among the World War One highlights were H.R. Hopps’s Destroy this Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917, which brought $18,750; and two record-setting items: James Montgomery Flagg’s Wake Up America Day, which appeared on the front of the auction catalogue, 1917, $8,750 and Howard Chandler Christy’s If you Want to Fight! / Join the Marines, 1915, $7,680. 

From World War Two was the often parodied Keep Calm and Carry On by an unknown designer, 1939, which rarely appears at auction, $17,500.

Geo Ham’s dynamic car-racing posters are always popular


Tops among the tennis images were Ludwig Hohlwein’s stylish Kaffee Hag, 1913, $15,000 and Roger Broders’s Monte-Carlo, circa 1930, $16,250. 

Sporting images from that same region included a pair of Geo Ham’s car racing posters: Monaco / 5ÈME Grand Prix Automobile, 1933, $13,750 and Monaco, 1936, $11,875.

This poster depicting a young Buffalo Bill on horseback, based on artwork by Paul Frenzeny, set a new auction record

Posters for Buffalo Bill, that grand showman of the American West, also performed well, with Paul Frenzeny’s The Scout / Buffalo Bill, 1888, setting an auction record at $7,500, while Col. W.F. Cody / “Buffalo Bill,”1908 and W.F. Cody / Buffalo Bill, circa 1905–both by unknown designers–bringing $15,000 and $14,080 respectively.

For a complete list of prices realized, please see our Sales Results page